At the feet of Jesus!
(J.R. Miller, "At the Feet of Jesus" 1891)
As we know Martha wherever we see her — by her diligent, eager serving; so we know Mary by her posture at the feet of Jesus. Only three times she is seen in the Gospel story — and each time she is at her usual place.
First, we find her sitting at Christ's feet as a learner, eagerly listening to His words. "She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet, and listened to His teaching." Luke 10:39
At the feet of Jesus is the place of discipleship, where one learns the lessons the Master has to teach, where one's soul receives the blessings He has to give.
Every believer should learn the lesson that there can be no beautiful Christian character for him, no sweet influence pouring out from his life, no blessed ministry giving comfort and joy to others — unless he first sits at Christ's feet as a learner. He must receive — before he can give. This is a vital principle in Christian life. We can give out to others — only what God has first given to us.
You see a beautiful rose bathed in the summer sunshine and pouring forth its sweetness. "I would have my life like the rose!" you say. Yes, but where did the rose get its loveliness and its fragrance? Down out of the sky, did it not? It looked up and opened its heart — and the sun poured his warm beams into the flower's bosom. Out of the air at night came the gentle dew and crept into the flower's folds, and the beauty burst out and the sweetness flowed forth.
Would you have your life like the rose? You must commune with Christ. Your heart must receive the warmth of His love. You must take His words into your soul. He must fill you with His own blessed life. All you can bring to Christ is your own emptiness — the emptiness of penitence, of humility, of a thirsty soul.
A poet speaks of Mary's eyes as "homes of silent prayer." Her eyes of prayer told of a great heart-hunger. She did not talk in Christ's presence. She had nothing to say. She wanted Him to speak to her. And any word He spoke went down deep into her heart and became a blessing there, pouring its sweet influence through all her life.
Here we get the first lesson from Mary. You must sit at Christ's feet as a learner, as a receiver. Let Him teach you. Let Him pour His own life and love into your heart.
The first thing is, not what you shall do for Christ — but what Christ shall do for you; not what you shall give to Him — but what you shall receive from Him. Keep all the windows of your soul open toward Him, that the light from His face may shine into the very depths of your being. Take His words into your heart and ponder them with love and prayer — until they fill you with their own life and spirit.
Says Henry Drummond: "Ten minutes spent in Christ's presence every day, yes, two minutes, if it is face to face and heart to heart — will make all things different. Throughout the whole day, your actions, down to the last detail, will do homage to that early vision."